How Educators Consult on Evidence-Based Interventions

In order to help their students succeed, teachers and school leaders are looking to their colleagues to learn about strategies that they have used to improve student outcomes academically and behaviorally. However, the amount of information about some interventions is sometimes limited, not relevant or useful and lacks community, school and classroom context, according to a new RAND report based on survey data on collected from the think tank's American Educator Panels.

Both teachers and principals prioritize applicability or student context as the most important factor when it comes to selecting school intervention practices. However, 61 percent of teachers see ease of implementation and easy access to information and resources as the next two important priorities. Seventy percent of principals want to prioritize the rigor of evidence related to intervention efficacy as the second tier of strategy evaluation.

The report suggests that educators could find guidance related to their local needs with rigorous evidence that also address feasibility concerns most useful. However, there are tradeoffs with only using data that is collected locally because it might that not have wide enough results to be implemented effectively. Local education agencies who receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education and other sources can be used as resources to determine ways to determine useful evidence-based strategies on a larger scale.

Internally, teachers are twice as likely to consult with their school leaders or support staff on student nonacademic matters such as social, emotional and behavioral needs. Teachers are 14 percent more likely to turn to another teacher to learn about practices that can benefit students academically.

Other findings from the survey include:

  • Approximately half of principals would recommend that teachers first consult with their colleagues to learn about strategies that have been most useful for their students in academic and non-academic areas.
  • Eighteen percent of teachers reported that they are initially most likely to develop a resource themselves or work with other staff for academic interventions, and 11 percent of teachers would implement the same practice for non-academic interventions.
  • Fewer than 2 percent of teachers and principals are mostly likely to use online social networks to determine the best evidence-based interventions.
The full RAND report can be found here.

About the Author

Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe covering education policy and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.

Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.

Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.

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